William E. Smith

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For the judge, see William E. Smith (judge).
William E. Smith
William E. Smith.jpg
14th Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 7, 1878 – January 2, 1882
Lieutenant James M. Bingham
Preceded by Harrison Ludington
Succeeded by Jeremiah McLain Rusk
5th Treasurer of Wisconsin
In office
January 1, 1866 – January 3, 1870
Preceded by Samuel D. Hastings
Succeeded by Henry Baetz
Wisconsin State Senator
In office
Personal details
Born (1824-06-18)June 18, 1824
Inverness, Scotland
Died February 13, 1883(1883-02-13) (aged 58)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Resting place Forest Home Cemetery
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Nationality Scottish
Political party Whig
Republican Party
Spouse(s) Mary Booth Smith
Parents Alexander Smith
Sarah (Grant) Smith
Profession Merchant

William E. Smith (June 18, 1824 – February 13, 1883) was a merchant and politician in Wisconsin. He was a member of the Wisconsin State Senate and served as the 14th Governor of Wisconsin.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1824, the son of Alexander and Sarah (Grant) Smith. He immigrated to the United States with his family as a child, and lived with his family in New York City and Michigan.[1] He attended the common schools before working as a store clerk when he was 17. In 1846 he went to work for Lord & Taylor, and the following year he went to work for a wholesale company. In 1849 he moved to Fox Lake, Wisconsin to become a partner in a mercantile firm.[2]

Political career[edit]

He held several political position in Wisconsin and served two terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly beginning in 1851, including serving as speaker during the second term.[3] Originally a Whig, he helped organize the new Republican Party in 1854. He served two terms in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1858 to 1865. Smith was Wisconsin state treasurer from 1866 to 1870. He was again elected to the State Assembly in 1871.[1] He was a member of the board of regents of normal schools from 1858-1876, and director of the state prison from 1874-1878.[4]

In 1872, Smith moved to Milwaukee and co-founded the Roundy's supermarket chain.[5] He was elected governor in 1877 and served two terms from 1878 to 1882.[1]

He died on February 13, 1883 in Milwaukee[4] and is interred at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.[6]

Family life[edit]

Smith and his wife Mary Booth were married in Michigan in 1849. They had four children.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Smith, William E. 1824 - 1883". Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  2. ^ Legislative Reference Bureau (1960). The Wisconsin Blue Book. Legislative Reference Bureau. p. 124. 
  3. ^ "William E. Smith". Genealogy Trails. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Johnson, Rossiter and Brown, John Howard (1904). The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. Biographical Society. p. 1. 
  5. ^ Dexter-Roundy family papers, 1772-1951
  6. ^ "Historical People". Forest Home Cemetery. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ "On This Day: September 6". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel D. Hastings
Treasurer of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Henry Baetz
Preceded by
Harrison Ludington
Governor of Wisconsin
1878 – 1882
Succeeded by
Jeremiah McLain Rusk